Joel – Chapters 1-2 – Minor Prophets By Rabbi Gail Diamond

1) Chapter 1 describes the destruction wrought by locusts. Do you think the locusts are real, or a metaphor? How do you understand verse 6?

Verse 4 uses four nouns. Rashi writes:

רש”י יואל פרק א פסוק ד

(ד) יתר הגזם וגו’ – גזם ארבה ילק חסיל מיני גובאי הם ונתנבא עליהם שיבאו ובאו באותן הימים וכלו כל פרי העץ וירק השדה:

Gezem, arbeh, yelek and hasil are four kinds of grasshoppers, and he prophesied about them that they would come, and they came in these same days and destroyed all the fruits of the trees and all the vegetation of the fields.

Abravanel however interprets differently. According to Abravanel, Gezem is Bavel, Arbeh is Persia, Yelekis Greece and Hasil is Rome.

Which interpretation do you favor and why?

2) The Hebrew text of verses 1:9-13 uses multiple repetitions and alliterations (similar sounding words). Look for some of them and discuss how this adds to the Prophet’s message.

3) Chapter 1:19-20 – How do repetitions in these verses add to the meaning of Chapter 1??

(Note the use here of the unusual word תערוג found only here and in Psalm 42:2.)

4) Day of the Lord – 1:15, 2:1, 2:11 – how do Joel’s descriptions of the Day of the Lord compare with what we saw in Zephaniah 1:7 and 1:14?

5) Fasting is mentioned in 1:14 and again in 2:12. Blowing the Shofar is mentioned in 2:1 and 2:15. What is the purpose of these actions?

6) Chapter 2:13-14 – compare Exodus 34: 6-7. Why do you think Joel references this passage from Exodus?

7) Chapter 2:18-27 describes what will happen after the people repent. How do these verses provide reparation for what we saw in Chapter 1. Look for direct parallels in use of words and expressions.

Video Conclusion